Islam in Scotland
This section is designed to provide a portal to 'Islam in action' within Scotland today. The site is under constant development - your assistance is sought and we look forward to entries to enhance this section or those relating to Frost's Who's Who or Frost's Gazette. Please send such by e-mail to email@example.com
a) Principal locations of mosques will be found in Frost's Scottish Gazette An index of transition
b) Principal individuals will be found in Frost’s Scottish Who's Who
c) Societies and pressure groups will be found in Frost's Who's Who artificial bodies
For Islamic interest referral is made to the following site links:
a) A summary of Islamic belief for an abbreviated view on Islamic belief.
(Religion section of the Anatomy)
b) Introductory notes to Islam for a fuller understanding. (Found in the original Frost's Blog)
c) A Theological Understanding for a detailed analysis on Islamic belief. (Religion section of the Anatomy)
d) Essays on Islam - issues and debate (Religion section of the Anatomy)
e) Essays on religious fuelled terrorism (Religion section of the Anatomy)
Below is a selection of articles relating to Islam within Scotland
Glasgow Central Mosque
Other Mosques in Scotland
Cleric warns of need for terror alert in Scotland's mosques
Imam attacked in Glasgow mosque
Fears of backlash in Scotland as boy and mosque attacked
Glasgow Central Mosque
Glasgow Central Mosque and Islamic Centre, 1 Mosque Avenue, Glasgow.
Glasgow Central Mosque is the largest mosque in Scotland, and one of the largest in the United Kingdom. it was formally opened in 1984 by H E. Abdullah Omar Naseef, the Secretary General of the Muslim World League. It is enclosed on one of its sides by gardens and on the other by a long façade of arched windows. The main entrance arched with etched glass doors of a floral design. In the courtyard is one of the most noticeable features being the Minaret (tower) where traditionally the Muezzin recites the call to prayer stands. The other more noticeable feature is the dome above the main prayer hall allowing natural light into the building. Inside the mosque is a recess which is called the Mihrab where the Iman stands. The Mihrab points in the direction of Mecca. Not long after the mosque was built a new Muslim Cultural and Welfare Centre was built adjacent to the mosque.
The mosque also services many foreign students attending Glasgow's prestigious universities and provides a focus for the Muslim community. At present there are three Imams, Maulana Abdul-Ghafoor, Maulana Habib-ur-Rahman and Maulana Umair.
The Mosque and the Islamic CentrePHILOSOPHY:
Among the non-Muslim community groups, the general impression of the Mosque seems to be that it is a sectarian and fundamentalist Muslim Centre. This of course, like many stereotypes, is not the whole truth.
In Islam, there is no conception of 'Fundamentalism'. Islam is the Guidance and the Way of development in the various sectors of human life. Prophet Muhammad(PBUH), the Messenger of Allah(SWT), made it compulsory for everyone to educate themselves for their whole life and to educate other people. According to Islam, serving the disaster people is the best way to server Allah(SWT) and to win His favour. Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) helped the needy and oppressed at an early age and gave the concept of a welfare society, embracing five points of social welfare programme, even before he became a Prophet.
The concept of worship in Islam is not merely praising Allah in some particular manner. It means serving the society according to His directions and the Prophet's teachings.
There is no place in Islam dividing the society in the name of majority and minority community. Islam also prohibits the dividing of the community into different groups on the basis of creed, colour, sect and language. Islam is totally against racism and sectarianism.
The Mosque is, therefore, not only a place of worship, it is a Religious and Educational Institution, a Socio-cultural Centre and a Welfare and Advice Centre.
The Mosque and the Islamic Centre are two inter-related parts to provide religious, educational, cultural, social and welfare services.
An Islamic Centre in the western world:It is a Community Centre:
An Islamic Centre is an institution for community education to develop intellectual, physical, social and cultural values of Muslim Community. It is a place for debates and seminars to discuss various problems faced by the Muslim Community.
It is a Social-Cultural Centre:
All social and cultural functions like marriage parties and Eid reunion are held here regularly. It is also used for exhibition of Islamic heritage, culture and publications.
It is a Resource Centre:
Community Resource Library is an essential part of every Islamic Centre. Resources on all religious, cultural and social issues are made available in the necessary community languages.
It is an Advice Centre:
It is an Advice Centre where information, instructions and guidance services on all religious, cultural and social issues, like housing, unemployment, immigration and family problems etc. are provided.
It is a Day Centre:
It is a recreation centre for all disadvantaged groups of the community.
Muslim population in Strathclyde:
According to the results of research done by Dr. A.Z.M.Sayeed Chowdhury, Director of the Islamic Centre, the Muslim population in Strathclyde Region, in January 1990, was estimated to be as follows:
The Muslim population comprising mainly Pakistanis, Arabs, Banglaedeshis, Malayans, Indians, Turks and African Muslims had long cherished the concept of an Islamic Cultural Centre which be considered to be the first in all above aspects in Europe. To achieve this target the community struggled for twelve years and ultimately built the Glasgow Mosque and The Islamic Centre on a 2 acre site on the banks of the City of Glasgow. The building of the Centre was completed at a total cost of approximately 3 million pounds.
In 1984 the Centre was officially opened by H.E. Abdullah Omar Naseef, the Secretary General of the Islamic World League and the Patron of Glasgow Central Mosque.
The Centre was instigated to achieve the following:
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
• To run the Mosque, provide religious services and religious instructions and guidance to the Muslim Community for their moral development and to meet their religious requirements.
• To provide education for all sections of the community in order to lead life in the British multi-cultural society as a true Muslim and as an ideal citizen.
• To develop and provide social and cultural services in order to preserve the community identity and to create social and cultural awareness amongst the Muslims.
• To provide guidance and resource service, particularly to educational institutions, hospitals and prisons, and generally to all communities, irrespective of their religion.
• To provide advisory services to solve educational, cultural and social problems of the community.
• To provide social welfare services to the various groups of the community, to provide funeral service and to provide the humanitarian aid and support in all levels of the society.
• To achieve the above aims and objectives the centre has the following departments:
DEPARTMENT OF THE CENTRE:
DEPARTMENT OF ISLAMIC AFFAIRS:
Running the Central Mosque.
Providing religious services.
Propagation of Islam (TABLIGH) and
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE:
Running schools of:-
Arabic and community Languages,
Religious Studies and
Lecture, seminar and youth activities for youth guidance and Moral Education and
Sports and Health Education for youths.
Education and Guidance for male and female separately,
Self-help Train Courses (for female only) and
Mobile Education services
Guidance and Resource Services:
Community Library (for male only),
Producing resources and research papers for students and community groups;
Providing resources and guidance services for visitors, institutions, hospitals and prisons.
Organising Cultural programmes and
Exhibition of Muslim Culture and Heritage.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE SERVICES:
• Providing the recreational facilities,
• Providing the Welfare Advice Services,
• Providing Marriage Guidance, Family Guidance and Counselling services to solve family disputes,
• Providing Funeral Services and
• Providing Humanitarian Aid services.
This Islamic Centre is, now the Central Institution for the Muslim community and this is the largest community centre in Strathclyde. This centre provides services not only for Muslim elderly people, adults, youths and children, it also serves the non-Muslim community groups of various ages, and educationists from various institutions. Its services are to meet the needs of the people living in the area as well as the whole of the Strathclyde region.
Cleric warns of need for terror alert in Scotland's mosques
Sunday Herald, The, Dec 30, 2001 by Neil Mackay
A LEADING British Muslim has called for a wide-ranging investigation into Scotland's two largest mosques in a bid to uncover whether they have been infiltrated by Islamic extremists intent on recruiting young Muslims into terrorism.
Abdul Haqq Baker, the chairman of Brixton mosque which was attended by Richard Reid, the Briton charged with trying to detonate a bomb hidden in the heel of his shoe while onboard a transatlantic flight from Paris to London, says hundreds of disaffected young Muslims are being actively recruited by extremist Islamic groups.
Baker claims "recruiting has got out of control" and extremists have deliberately targeted moderate mosques like his own to "lure" young men to "radical Islam". He fears that Glasgow and Edinburgh's central mosques are being targeted by extremists.
Baker warned police about extremists' recruiting practices but was ignored - even though he gave the names of people allegedly operating on behalf of radical British-based clerics such as Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada and Abdullah el-Faisal.
Reid met Zacarias Moussaoui while worshipping at Brixton mosque. Moussaoui is now in prison in America on charges of conspiracy relating to the September 11 attacks. He is suspected of being the so- called "20th hijacker".
Baker believes Moussaoui might have recruited Reid. Another worshipper at Brixton mosque was Shahid Butt, who was jailed for five years in Yemen for joining a group of British Muslims who plotted to attack the British consulate.
Baker is concerned that groups such as al-Muhajiroun, which espouses Holy War and sees Tony Blair as a legitimate target, are trying to recruit young Muslims in Scotland.
"If extremist organisations are recruiting in Scotland they will be targeting Glasgow and Edinburgh's central mosques," said Baker. "These centres need to be investigated. These people need to be stopped from preaching their corrupt beliefs."
Yasin Mohammed, a trustee with Edinburgh Central Mosque, said: "There is no chance of anyone coming into this mosque to preach terrorist ideology or to recruit young Muslims."
Glasgow councillor Bashir Mann, a spokesman for the city's central mosque and the Scottish representative to the Muslim Council for Britain, said: "If anyone came into the mosque who wanted to advocate terrorism they would be thrown out. This would not be tolerated. Nobody can give lectures without being vetted and approved by the mosque management."
However, Anjem Choudray, a leader of al-Muhajiroun in the UK, said: "We do distribute leaflets outside mosques and we have many members active in Scotland. We have also given lectures in many mosques throughout Britain. We have a political message to get across and this is a legitimate tactic to employ."
It is thought that Reid might have come into contact with Islamic extremists while a prisoner in Feltham Young Offenders Institute. Prison authorities have been criticised for not adequately vetting imams who preach in enter jails.
Last month, Feltham's imam was suspended over allegations he that distributed literature describing America as "the great evil which must be wiped out". The imam of Aylesbury Young Offenders' Institution was also dismissed over similar allegations.
The Scottish Prison Service admits it does not run checks on visiting imams to find out whether they have a history of making seditious comments or supporting terrorism.
"We have an ethnic minority liaison officer who the prisoners can contact," a spokesperson said.
"Prisoners are then put in touch with an imam who can visit them. The imam would be subjected to a criminal record check but we do not investigate their political opinions."
Muslim Council spokesman on prisons Dr Abdul Jalil Sajid said new scrutiny systems must be put in place in the nation's jails to prevent radical clerics recruiting prisoners.
A Glasgow imam has been attacked in his mosque by a white man in an incident police believe was racially motivated.
Mohammed Shamsuddin was treated at the city's Western Infirmary after he was punched and kicked by an attacker, who also hit the 53-year-old using a chair and a safe deposit box.
Police have stepped up their presence in the area in order to reassure Muslims, including Islamic students from overseas - many of whom live and worship in the mosque, near the campus of Glasgow University.
The incident comes after a suspected fire-raising attack more than a week ago on a mosque in Falkirk that caused £10,000 worth of damage.
According to witnesses, the Bangladesh-born religious leader was attacked by a white man at about 6pm on Friday evening just as worshippers headed to the mosque to break their Ramadan fast at 6.30pm.
Witnesses added that the suspect verbally abused the cleric before attacking him.
Khalid Rehman, a close family friend of the imam, said: "A man came into the mosque holding some stones and asked the imam something along the lines of why Allah permits people to be punished with stones."
Worshippers were horrified by the attack. Osama Saeed, the Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, said: "We're all shocked and saddened by this, and unfortunately it seems to be part of a rising trend.
"A number of students have come to me and told me that they have been attacked around the area."
Saeed accused political leaders of stoking up tension through their remarks about Islamic dress and Muslims.
He said: "In the last few months we've had a coordinated strategy on the part of the government to set an agenda that there are extremists throughout the Muslim community. It's little wonder that bigots on the ground are taking their lead from this."
Glasgow MSP Tommy Sheridan blamed the incident directly on comments by the Leader of the Commons Jack Straw that he preferred Muslim women constituents to remove their veils when they visited him.
Sheridan, leader of the Solidarity Party, said: "This latest attack on a respected religious leader in Glasgow is a direct result of Jack Straw's recent irresponsible and provocative statement.
"A similar statement by John Reid and the way in which Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and various other government ministers have failed to condemn them leaves me in no doubt that a concerted campaign is under way at the heart of government to isolate and demonise Muslims in our communities."
Strathclyde Police said it is treating the attack at Oakfield Avenue in the Hillhead area as racially motivated.
A spokeswoman said: "In addition to the investigation, we have stepped up our activities in the area so as to provide reassurance to the community."
A Strathclyde Police source rejected suggestions that the attack could be related to white anger over the Kriss Donald murder trial, where three Asians are accused of the murder of the Glasgow teenager. The three deny the charges.
The mosque, which was established by members of the Bangladeshi community, is near Glasgow's Great Western Road.
Police have described the suspect as being white, possibly 35-45 years old, approximately 5ft 8in, of medium build, with short greying hair, possibly curly and receding. He was wearing a blue jacket, a cream jumper and possibly jeans.
The row over the use of veils continued yesterday when a Muslim teaching assistant who has been suspended by her school denied she had refused to take off her veil in class.
Aishah Azmi insisted she had always been willing to remove the veil in front of children at Headfield Church of England junior school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire - but would not do so while male colleagues were present.
Azmi spoke out as the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, joined the ranks of people who want to see veils disappear, saying "most people" held the same view.
Livingstone's comments follow the outcry over the issue sparked by Commons Leader Jack Straw when he revealed that he asks his Muslim constituents to remove their veils in meetings.
Meanwhile, a Christian said she planned to take legal action against her employer, British Airways, after the airline ruled that displaying her crucifix breached uniform rules.
Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida claims she was effectively "forced" to take unpaid leave after refusing to remove the Christian symbol.
The airline has said, however, that items such as turbans, hijabs and bangles could be worn "as it is not practical for staff to conceal them beneath their uniforms".
Eweida, 55, who has been with BA for seven years, plans to sue her employer for religious discrimination.
POLICE patrols have been stepped up around mosques and Muslim communities in Scotland amid fears of a racist backlash in the wake of the London bombings.
The greater police visibility in Edinburgh follows an unprovoked attack on a teenage Asian boy, who was beaten up on a busy street in broad daylight by a white skinhead who shouted racist abuse.
The 16-year-old boy, who has not been named, was with an 11-year-old friend on Leith Walk when the man began shouting at them at about 2pm on Tuesday. The man then punched the older boy repeatedly, knocking him to the ground, before running off when an elderly Asian man intervened.
The teenager was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with a suspected fractured cheekbone, bruising and cuts. Police are appealing for witnesses.
The assault follows attacks on the Shah Jalal Mosque in the city and a Pakistani community centre, both of which were defaced with racist graffiti last Thursday. Doors were daubed with the words “Islam Scum” and “This centre sympathises with terrorists”.
Police, who described the attacks as appalling, said that reports of verbal abuse against Asians had increased in the past week in Edinburgh and Glasgow, home to Scotland’s largest Asian communities.
Muslim leaders warned the Asian community yesterday to be on guard and to report any racial incidents to officers.
Lothian and Borders Police said there was no evidence to suggest that the attack on the teenage boy was linked to the London bombings. However, Superintendent George Simpson said: “These incidents are appalling and there is no space for this behaviour in the democratic society we live in.
“In the wake of the London bombing we have made contact with all vulnerable premises in our area. We are providing patrols and regular checks of these premises on a daily basis, and we want to hear from anyone who has been a victim of a racial attack.”
Mazhar Khan, Edinburgh spokesman for the Islamic Society of Britain, said the assault on the boy and the graffiti attacks were a real concern for all Muslims. “We don't want a repeat of the Islamophobia after September 11 but sadly I fear we will feel the repercussions of the London bombs,” he said.
“We were numb with shock just like everyone else when we heard about the atrocities but innocent Muslims should not suffer because of a small bunch of lunatics. They have tainted the Muslim community and I advise all Asians to be vigilant and report any racial harassment to the police.”
The Muslim Association of Britain issued a statement urging “all communities to join hands in order to thwart any attempt to disrupt the peace and undermine the harmony we have enjoyed despite our diverse races, colours and creeds”. The association advised Muslims to co-operate with the security services and offer police a “helping hand” to prevent any future bomb attacks. The statement said that once the profiles of the bombers were fully established, Muslim communities had an “obligation to assess whether there was something we could have done to prevent these attacks and to prevent such attacks in future.”
Osama Saeed, the association’s Scottish spokesman, said that the community was fearful. “The actions of these young men has put the community under the cosh just when we thought we were putting 9/11 behind us.”
A prayer vigil for the victims of the London bombings, organised by the association and involving Christian churches, will take place in Glasgow’s George Square, on Sunday. The annual Mela in Glasgow, an Asian festival involving Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, will take place this weekend as planned.
Islam, Christianity is not above criticism
Anatomy Index of Contents